Jacob: 34. Jacob Blessed and Sent to Padan Aram

Genesis 28:1‑9  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
After the humbling scene in which Isaac and Rebekah with Jacob, to say nothing of Esau, played so unworthy parts, it is refreshing here to read of Isaac's pious care over Jacob; and all the more, that grace made use of Rebekah to recall the spirit of her husband to faithful and righteous ways about their son called to blessing (Gen. 27:4646And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me? (Genesis 27:46)).
“And Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, and said to him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan-Aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother. And God Almighty [El Shaddai] bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a company of peoples. And may he give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest possess the land of thy sojournings, which God gave to Abraham. And Isaac sent away Jacob; and he went to Padan-Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, mother of Jacob and Esau. Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Padan-Aram, to take him a wife thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan; and [that] Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padan-Aram. And Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father. And Esau went to Ishmael, and took, unto the wives which he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, sister of Nebaioth, to be his wife” (vers. 1-9).
We may notice this peculiarity in the blessing here pronounced on Jacob by his father that a “charge” (ver. 1) accompanied it. Jacob must not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. For they were accursed in Jehovah's eyes, though the execution in any measure tarries till the cup of the Amorites was full. For the wanderer Jacob there was to be as distinct a refusal of alliance with the Canaanite as for Isaac. Only the latter was in the strictest way forbidden to go out of the land (Gen. 24:6, 86And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. (Genesis 24:6)
8And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again. (Genesis 24:8)
), and the bride must be fetched thither: whereas the former goes in quest of a wife to the house of his mother's father (2). Thus are Jacob's earthly place and relations made no less evident than Isaac's heavenly ones. As the prophet Hosea puts it, Jacob fled into the field of Aram, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept [sheep]. So God decided for him in righteous government. Isaac's history is the type of sovereign grace calling a bride to the Heir of all things in heavenly places.
But it is also to be remarked in verse 3 that Isaac says, “God Almighty bless thee,” and in verse 4, “And may he give thee the blessing of Abraham.” But it is distinctly limited to a “multitude of peoples,” and to his inheriting, he and his seed with him, “the land of his sojournings which God gave to Abraham.” Yet we never hear that God appeared to Isaac in that character of revelation, as He did to Abraham very expressly in Gen. 17:11And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. (Genesis 17:1); and it is even contrasted with the name of Jehovah made known to Moses in Ex. 6:33And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. (Exodus 6:3) as the covenant name thenceforth for the children of Israel. But Isaac had it not directly like Abraham and Jacob.
Another trait of distinction is of much interest, to which Gal. 3:1616Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (Galatians 3:16) directs attention. “Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed.” And the apostle reasons on the one Seed which is Christ, as contrasted with the numerous seed referring to Israel. So we read in Gen. 12:33And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:3) to Abraham, and confirmed to Isaac in 12:18, though the countless earthly seed had been just mentioned in 17. This however is absent from Isaac's blessing on Jacob.
Scripture tells us in vers. 6-9 of Esau's imitating his brother as nearly as he could in appearance, because his Canaanite wives displeased his father. But God was not in his thoughts; and his imitation fell miserably short. For in addition to the daughters of Heth he took a daughter of Ishmael to wife, the bondmaid's offspring cast out from Abraham's house. There was no faith, but a natural and ineffectual effort after better ways. Apart from faith it is impossible to please God; for he that approaches Him must believe that He is, and becomes a rewarder of those that seek Him out. This was true of Jacob, in no way of Esau.